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Is it possible to install a suspended grid ceiling without using L-channels? Two of the walls are structural masonry, and I would like to avoid risking structural integrity by drilling into them. I'm assuming that by using only T-channel, there may be a gap along the edges that fluctuates around an eighth of an inch or so, depending upon the straightness of the wall -- that is something I'm willing to tolerate in exchange for not drilling into the masonry walls.

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  • most masonry can be drilled without significantly weakening it – Jasen Jan 4 at 9:06
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There's no reason you couldn't do what you have planned. Suspended ceilings are a decorative feature, and not a structural one, so you can do whatever you like. I assume you'll cut your interior channel and lay it over the perimeter channel as normal, as opposed to somehow replicating the locking mechanical connection you'd normally have between interior channels.

You're going to have one particular challenge, though, and that's keeping them flat.

L-channel is rigidly mounted to the wall, so the horizontal portion is more or less stuck in position. You can lay interior channel on it and it doesn't move much.

In your case, you'll be suspending the T-channel and it'll have freedom to pendulum away from level. Laying the interior channel on it will have a tendency to tilt it down on the inside flange.

One solution might be to use pop rivets or screws to tie things together more rigidly. You could simply do this through the mating horizontal flanges, or you could strategically cut tabs into the ends of the interior channel so you can rivet in a hidden fashion:

TOP (PLAN) VIEW
__________________________________________

             rivet locations              <-- perimeter channel
_____________*______*_____________________
            ----..----   <-- tabs cut from center rib of interior channel
         |      ||      |
_________|      ||      |_________________
         |      ||      |

if you are going to rivet from the bottom you might consider just floating L channel, though. It'll look a little more standard since it's narrower and it's usually cheaper.

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  • Perhaps hang L-channel on the perimeter, so it’s at least a flat outside surface to hold against the masonry wall? Then the interior channel could be cut to the right length to hold it against the wall, while the wire holds it to the right height. – Tim B Jan 4 at 3:56
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    Perhaps, but it didn’t seem a complete answer. It was addressing your comment about keeping perimeter channel level. I was suggesting L-channel could be suspended on wires instead of using T-channel on the perimeter. – Tim B Jan 4 at 18:55

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